Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yet more D&D blogging

I've been doing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons blogging lately now that the Democratic Party's presidential nominating process has declined into a stalemate. The new 4th edition rules are being released this summer, so while I decide whether or not they are worth playing I'll be posting some thoughts about it from time to time.

In particular, draft rules for handling character death for the 4th edition game are available. The resemblance to professional wrestling is uncanny. Here are the rules one by one:
  1. At 0 hp or less, you fall unconscious and are dying.
    A little background is in order here. At all times, each D&D character has an integral number of hit points. Each character has some finite positive number of hit points when fully healthy and rested. Injuries and wounds make that number go down; healing and rest make that number go up.

    Professional wrestling works eactly the same way if you think of death as "getting pinned". Stone Cold Steve Austin is probably not going to be able to pin a competant wrestler in the first ten seconds of a match unless that wrestler is a complete wimp. He's going to have to pound on a wrestler's skull for a while to knock his hit points down before getting a pin. Once that wrestler is down to 0, he is too exhausted to fight back and get pinned to lose the match.

  2. Characters die when their negative hit point total reaches -10 or one-quarter of their full normal hit points, whichever is a larger value.
    In other words, it's a lot harder to send Andre the Giant out of the ring on a stretcher than it is do to the same thing to, say, "Bob" from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

  3. If you’re dying at the end of your turn, roll 1d20.
    Lower than 10: You get worse. If you get this result three times before you are healed or stabilized (as per the Heal skill), you die.
    10-19: No change.
    20: You get better! You wake up with hit points equal to one-quarter your full normal hit points.

    Obviously this is the rule that keeps a wrestler unconscious on the mat while his opponent is climbing up onto the top rope for a devastating finishing move. Except that sometimes a wrestler will manage to get back onto his feet before his opponent can finish him off. Back in the 80s, we used to call this kind of magical regeneration the "Hulk Hogan Effect".

  4. If a character with negative hit points receives healing, he returns to 0 hp before any healing is applied.
    Here the slightest bit of healing a puts wrestler back onto his feet. This is why it's so important to wrestle with a tag team partner.

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